Carkeek Ráns away with Fast40 podium as Black Pearl shines in Rolex Middle Sea Coastal Race

Rolex Middle Sea Coastal Race

Carkeek-designed yachts finished as top four in the Fast40+ fleet as Black Pearl won the Middle Sea Coastal Race.

Niklas Zennstrom’s Swedish new generation Carkeek-designed yacht, Rán VII, capped a perfect debut season on the Fast 40+ Circuit, by winning Round 6, hosted by the Royal Southampton Yacht Club (Friday, October 19- Sunday, 21).

Victory made it six rounds from six for Rán VII in this high-performance planing monohull class. Rán won the two races possible on Friday but with the sun turning up without the wind it was a frustrating finish to the season, with no racing possible on the Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile in the Mediterranean, the Carkeek 47, Black Pearl, won the Middle Sea Coastal Race, as part of the preparations for the 50th anniversary Middle Sea Race, which started on Saturday. On Monday afternoon, Stefan Jentzsch’s Black Pearl was still in the hunt for the classic 606-mile race in the IRC 2 class.

For Shaun Carkeek it was doubly fascinating to watch the Middle Sea offshore battle unfold as three different generations of his Fast40s pushed each other all the way to the top four spots.

“Overall it has been one of the most enjoyable seasons I can remember,” Shaun Carkeek said. “It started with a great Atlantic weekend in April, Rán VII won its first regatta and Warrior smashed the Round Antigua Race record.

“Obviously it’s not quite how the Fast40s wanted to finish, but Carkeek boats ended the season by winning 30 out of the 35 races – a strike rate of 86% – it’s a great feeling to have that validation of your designs and great for the owners. And you always have to watch Black Pearl, we’re so happy with how the optimisation has gone.”

Rán’s victory was expected going into the regatta, given their ten-point lead over Peter Morton’s British Girls on Film, which looked almost as secure in second with a lead of nine points.

“The Fast40s are great fun, a really nice mix of big and small boat,” Tim Powell, the experienced British sailor and long-time core part of Rán Racing, said.

“Every input you put into the boat is instantly noticeable which you sometimes don’t get on larger boats. Downwind the boats light up, our only downside is we haven’t had a proper windy blow as it’s been quite a light year to really see how she handles.”

Girls of Film finished sixth overall in the truncated regatta, but that was enough. Behind them there was high-tension for the last podium place, concentrated even further by the forecast.

Two older generation Carkeek designs, Rebellion and Hitchhiker were battling for bronze again, as they had in 2017. Last year, Stewart Whitehead’s British Rebellion had edged that contest in the final round, but here Bas de Voogd’s Dutch Hitchhiker took its revenge. After a slow start to the season, Hitchhiker peaked just at the right time and finished third this weekend, with Rebellion fifth.

In the open spirit of improving the class, Rán Racing has made its tooling for Rán VII free for all to use.

“We’re hopeful that our moulds will be used in the near future for some new boats with one or two teams very close to committing which would be great for the UK fleet,” Powell said.

At the same time, to encourage this competitiveness, Carkeek will not be building a new generation Fast40 in the coming year.

“Niklas (Zennstrom) offered his tooling at no cost for any owners wanting to build and race in the UK, but also elsewhere,” Carkeek said. “Let’s hope owners take up his generous offer, so older boats are available for new teams or those stepping up from an entry-level boat. We’re in discussion for a couple of new boats and we’ve frozen the design for 2019 to help incentivise growth in the Fast 40 class, so 2019 looks like being even more exciting.”

Fast40+ results here: 
Rolex Middle Sea Race here:

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